Stacey and I decided to take advantage of the 14 inches of snow we got and went cross country skiing right after work yesterday. It was stunningly beautiful. It was nearly 30 degrees, so we didn’t really have to bundle up. About 30 minutes in, Stacey stopped in her tracks and I could see that three deer were leisurely walking across our path. They wandered across, stopped and watched us for a while, and then crossed again the other way. They were so close. Certainly the closest I’ve ever been to a deer other than the times I have hit them with my car.
We weren’t the only people out there enjoying the snow laden trees and the rippling river that runs through the park; we met up with at least 8 other people. We took a longer trail that we had not used before. It had a lot more hills, which considering this was only our 3rd time out, were fun and exciting to navigate without falling. We certainly did our share of falling. The longer we skied, the more fatigued I got and I know I ended up falling at least three if not four times. So we skied, and skied, not really paying much attention to anything but nature.
Then we realized that we were lost. Really lost. Then we realized that it was getting dark. Really dark. We were on a trail, but we had no idea if that particular trail actually would lead us back to the car. Fortunately, Stacey had her cell and it got a little bit of reception in the woods, and so we called people that knew the woods to help us find our way out. They would ask, “Do you see a group of tall pine trees?” “Uh…..Yeah, all the trees are tall”…..or they’d ask “Where are you on the trail?” “Uh, we are in the woods, we don’t know where we are at, that’s why we are calling you.” Eventually another skier came up to us and we asked him if he knew the way out? He replied, “I was hoping you two knew the way out.” So we became three lost skiers. (In the back of my mind I was really hoping this guy was not a serial killer) A while later (mind you it is getting dark enough that we can only make out basic shapes of the trees) another skier came up and asked if the three of us knew the way out because he was lost too. So now we are four lost skiers. At this point, I’m imagining who will play me in the Lifetime Movie that will be made of this…….
We stayed on the trail and one of the people Stacey called told us of a landmark to watch for and which way to turn at the fork and it did lead us back to the parking lot.
In the end, we were out more than two hours and got out of the woods shortly after 7pm.
Here are the lessons learned. One – we do not go without having a map of the trails. Two – we are going to watch the time closer and double back long before it even thinks about getting dark. Three – I am going to carry a survival pack so that if this happens again, I don’t have to think about cannibalizing Stacey to survive.